Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time.
I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.
WARC report that in 2007 it is expected that over half of all online advertising expenditure in Europe will be in the UK. Online ad spend in the UK grew by 47% in 2006 and is expected to grow by 31% this year.
WARC report that predictions by WPP suggest that within the next two years Russia will overtake Spain to become Europe’s 5th largest ad market. I, and many others, would quibble over the definition of Russia as being in Europe, but it is another reminder that balances of power are shifting.
Springwise report on a great idea from dotSub. dotSub allows people to add translations to online videos. First the process adds subtitles in the original language, then other people can come along and provide translations. This is an idea that really ‘gets it’.
The EU has created its own channel, EUTube, on YouTube. Whilst it is great that the EU is trying to get the message to more people, the videos I have checked out so far are a) dull, b) classic Government propaganda. For example, the video on Galileo does not point out that it is an idea that has missed its time and is going to be a colossal waste of taxpayers money. The clue to the state of Galileo is that the private sector partners have mostly failed to come up with their share of the money.
Have a look at the video below and see if you can work out main points of the story. The sad thing is that this is a really good story, the EU has spotted that mobile phone operators have been charging too much for international calls and has regulated the market so that the cost of inter-country (within the EU) calls are capped. The story should have been EU defends the consumer against the rapacious operators.
Many years ago a UK politician called Dennis Healy said that every good politician should have an hinterland, i.e. other aspects of their life about which they were passionate, rather than be one-dimensional politicians. I have long thought the same thing is true of market researchers. I am convinced that we do our day job better when we have other passions, be it climbing, charity work, music, or whatever.
Keith Hughes, Chief Development Officer at market research software company Merlinco, has just shown that he has a truly awesome hinterland. MrWeb reports that Keith has won MOJO music award for his work with Universal Music for its Complete Mowtown Singles Volume 6 1966, which Keith co-produced.
Keith has been working with Universal for ten years producing re-mastered versions of the Motown classics. Well done Keith, an inspiration to us all.
Although I have not seen anything inspiring, it does seem that there is more TNS related material being added to YouTube than from anybody else. Below are two “data to life” commercials and a classy number in French talking about Future Shapers and the launch TNS will be holding on June 28th for Future Shapers, with a link to their Future Shapers website.
WARC report that WPP head Martin Sorrell, who is usually cautious in his predictions for the future has been talking up the prospects of online advertising, particularly compared with the future for TV advertising.
Given the scale of WPP’s recent additions to its online stable through the purchase of digital media specialist 24/7 Real Media for US$649 and increased investment in WPP’s media arm GroupM, it is not, perhaps, surprising that Sorrell should be so bullish.
Key amongst Sorrell’s predictions are that there will be a substantial switch of spend away from TV to online (but TV will remain larger than online), that this switch will create fundamental revenue issues for TV companies/channels, and that the distinction between the media will continue to blur.
The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) seems very sure of itself, predicting that online ad revenues will overtake TV revenues by 2010, and also claiming that online is the most accountable medium ever invented. As WARC point out, the direct marketing practitioners would certainly query the point about accountability. The IAB seem to be continuing to miss the point about advertising; some advertising is designed to drive immediate actions, and that can be readily counted, but most advertising has a slower, longer term impact, and that is getting harder, not easier to measure.
The BBC have an interesting post about the rapid rise of mobile TV, particularly in Japan, South Korea and Italy. In Japan and South Korea there are already over 5 million people watching TV on their mobile phones and more are watching TV using other devices. In Italy there are already 500,000 subscribers to a new service being offered by Vodafone and Sky Italia.
One of the interesting things about this boom, as far as I am concerned, is that this is a relatively passive medium, unlike, say, online gaming. It is a mobile equivalent of an existing usage pattern, rather than a new activity.
One sour note for the UK is that technical and regulatory issues might mean that it will be 2012 before Mobile TV could become a mass product.
Whilst rummaging around in YouTube I came across the video below which is a promotional video about European market research agency SKOPOS, featuring the ever-present Darren Noyce.
The great thing about the SKOPOS video is that they are trying these things out, and very few other people appear to be trying. The problem with the video is that it is hard to see why somebody on YouTube would choose to watch it. The content is a quick introduction to SKOPOS and makes a very strong image link to London, and a bit of a link to traditional values. But it has no entertainment value or ‘need to know’ hook for the most businessmen when they have their 'YouTube' hat on.
From the SKOPOS website I see that the video was released in January, and they have also released the video via MySpace and is available on their website along with a single. Indeed a visit to the multimedia bit of their website shows that SKOPOS are experimenting with a variety of formats, including podcasts, videos, and images.
I hope that SKOPOS continue to experiment with this medium and perhaps they should look at the second video below, which I think points the way to something that might provide a ‘want to watch’ idea, if developed further (I know I have mentioned this second video before, but I think it has a little bit of something I think could be quite powerful).
Nigel Hollis has a great post about the apparent failure of Anheuser-Busch’s Bud.TV. Basically Nigel challenges whether Bud.TV has the right content and whether it understands what people are looking for online. If you are interested, read the article, I can’t paraphrase it without stealing it. But I will lift one wonderful quote where Nigel quotes Jackson West, who says of the Bud.TV content “forcibly viral by committee.”.
The success of some online ventures, such as www.threadless.com challenge whether research is needed. But clearly, when major brands with existing equity want to make a major exploration of a New Media they should be researching it. And if Bud.TV did research it, and if they did pay proper attention to that research, then they should consider moving their business!